High school sports in Utah became the latest domino to fall as the United States deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Thursday, the Utah High School Activities Association announced that this weekend’s state debate championships are suspended and that all spring activities are suspended for two weeks starting Monday, March 16.
No information was released as to when, or if, the state debate championships will be rescheduled.
“Member schools and/or districts as a local decision may suspend spring activities immediately. Those member schools and/or districts will need to work with the UHSAA on suspensions. All out of state school related travel has been suspended immediately for a period of at least two weeks,” the UHSAA sent in a statement Thursday afternoon.
“In consultation with board directives and information provided by state public health officials, the UHSAA has suspended spring activities to properly fulfill best practices regarding protection of students and the general public,” the statement continues. “More information will be sent to member schools and/or districts as it becomes available.”
In a social media post, the UHSAA clarified that team practices will be left to the discretion of local schools and school districts.
The suspension of spring activities figures to end on Monday, March 30, but that’s when many schools start spring break. In a Facebook post, Ogden High announced that athletics practices, games and meets will be canceled until April 6.
The week of March 30 to April 3 is when Ogden, Weber and Davis school districts go on spring break.
Currently, it’s unknown what kind of long-term effect the two-week postponement of high school sports will have on the rest of the spring sports calendar, should it resume later.
It’s also unknown whether Ogden, Davis or Box Elder school districts are taking additional measures regarding the suspension of athletics. A request for comment from the Ogden district wasn’t immediately returned.
Weber School District spokesman Lane Findlay said WSD is following the guidelines announced earlier Thursday from the UHSAA, as well as by Gov. Gary Herbert, regarding large gatherings of people.
According to the UHSAA’s record book, it appears the last significant interruption in the high school sports calendar was World War II. There were no high school football playoffs in 1942 due to the war.
In 1918, the Spanish Flu outbreak also forced the football season to cancel after five games.
The UHSAA’s move echoes moves by state high school associations across the country. California canceled its high school basketball state championships Wednesday. Connecticut canceled its winter high school sports tournaments as well.
A handful of area softball and baseball teams are scheduled to travel to St. George this weekend for tournaments, but some of those tournaments are already being impacted from coronavirus fears as well as expected heavy rain in southern Utah.
Weber High baseball coach Trevor Howell said the tournament at Snow Canyon High, where his Warriors are playing, is down from six teams to four after Provo and West opted out.
Davis High track and field coach Markham Hyde posted on Twitter that the Davis District Championships track meet scheduled for March 25 has been canceled.